How long will Maine's real estate boom continue? Beyond 18 months, it's anybody's guess

BY Peter Van Allen


As this issue goes to press, the Mainebiz staff is working out who is going to cover which speakers at the annual MEREDA conference.

The Maine Real Estate and Development Association's annual outlook conference is, along with the Mainebiz “Five on the Future” forum, a good way to get a sense of where the economy and the real estate industry are headed.

Everyone seems to agree that there's enough work already booked to safely get everyone through 2019 and even possibly through the next 18 months, as Beth Sturtevant, president of CCB Construction, said at the Mainebiz event.

What happens after that?

It's anybody's guess. The wild stock market, the federal shutdown, the inevitability of the economic cycles, overbuilding — any of these could play a role in derailing what has been a bull market for the building industry.

Setting that conversation aside, it's clear the Portland area and other pockets of the state are seeing the benefits (and possibly some pitfalls) from the real estate boom.

No area of Maine has seen the growth we're seeing in the East End of Portland. One of our Real Estate Insider columnists, Maureen Milliken, takes a fresh look at all that's under construction, including new headquarters for WEX Inc. and Vets First Choice, new hotels, office space, condos, retail and, by necessity, parking garages. See Page 20.

In Ellsworth, our other Real Estate Insider columnist, Laurie Schreiber, looks at recent development in the city's downtown, neighborhoods and along the heavily traveled highways. See Page 24.

Maine's future growth will be tied in part to policy decisions in Augusta. Senior Writer Renee Cordes offers 5 things to watch for from the new administration of Gov. Janet Mills. Health care is high on her list of priorities, but she also pledges greater incentives to small businesses and entrepreneurs. Mainebiz also offers a roster of the incoming cabinet members in the Mills administration.